"Thank you, thank you! You're such a gem!"
Hana's happy remarks were returned by a deep yet faint multilayered echoing drone, as if the sound came from hundreds of thousands of Elemental Fiends from very far away! The newly made cave she was standing on reverberated slightly for a full minute.
From her connection with Q-chan, she knew that the sound came from all Elemental Fiends outside her cave-dwelling, inside the newly made connecting tunnel, and even from the ones at their own lair miles away!
The freshwater creatures at the Crystal-veined stream were shivering in fear with the sudden hysterical outburst of the Elemental Fiends! Some spiritual beasts nearby immediately evacuated to a much further location!
Both Hana and even Shiro were speechless as they eyed each other with amazement.
Us all are connected... Us are here at all times. Q-chan tapped her head with her right metallic-like translucent white limb a few times.
Hana automatically entered her Soul Hall Domain to observe the queen mother's partial soul within her. The gray sparkling star was truly somewhat different from the rest of the stars in the domain. Hana went close to it and she noticed the large gray star was actually an aggregation of extremely tiny dots of light surrounding a single slightly larger one. It actually looked like a dandelion with a core.
Shi-chan, it turns out, Q-chan's soul is different from all of you! What does it mean? Hana hadn't placed much attention on Q-chan's partial soul within her Soul Hall Domain after subduing her last time. After that, she was busy cultivating to rapidly increased her Soul power. Before leaving, Kuro had specifically asked her to continue cultivating as much as she can and guaranteed that everyone under her care will also receive the same level of soul-nurturing, as long as she wasn't biased.
I'm unsure myself, Mom. I'm not an expert in soul matters. You must consult Bro Ku about this. However, there is no need to worry. Most importantly, Q's clan had shown that they are loyal to you. This is good enough. Shiro answered with an opinion of his own. To him, it didn't matter how it worked, especially when the one who knew the answer wasn't there. As long as all of them can contribute to the wellbeing of their Mistress, it shouldn't matter much. The answers could wait until his cheap brother came back from hounding the Forest Spirit.
Hana walked outside to take a deep breath. She observed the sparkling stars decorating the slightly purplish red backdrop outside. The night was bright and wasn't so dark today. However, it was unmistakably very late at this moment.
The aunty happily retired as she used her fluffy white fox as a pillow, the brown baby bird in her arms as a bolster, and a warm 'stove' by her side...
Once the Mistress of the lair retired, a protection formation arranged telepathically by the Primordial Queen Mother was formed by the Elemental Fiends outside. Security was at the highest. They moved like a wave together in a thousand-strong unit, patrolling the edge of the territory. If one counted, they would then realize that there were at least more than a hundred units moving to and fro around the territory. Surrounding the center of the location where the Empress and the Primordial Queen Mother resided, hundreds of purple general-classed Elemental Fiends stood still stoically in many layers. However, no other Elemental Fiends entered the Empress' sacred abode, safe for the one and only lucky F1.
The morning was greeted with the loud cawing of birds contending with menacing loud drones! The drones were especially aggressive and full of killing intent.
Hana and Shiro immediately went out of the cave to see what was going on.
The sky was filled with nearly a thousand birds of different colors and sizes!
The beautiful Markisah flew down from within the flock with a sullen look and approached Hana and Shiro.
"Hana! I've asked my friends to collect seeds from around the area for you. But the presence of the large insects had made all of us worry. We won't land unless you rein them in. What's wrong with these guys of yours?! So edgy!"
Markisah rolled her eyes at Hana's aggressive minions. She too, loved insects; but only the ones that she could eat (1). These were a tad bit too big. Additionally, the mean snake reminded her that she could be eaten whole easily by these multicolored insects. That was why she was careful around them, and made sure she only hovered around Hana's head for protection at all times. It was stupid to jeopardize your own life just to test whether the theory was true or not.
Hana patted her heart in relief. It was because she understood Q-chan's explicit telepathic instructions to weed off the intruders harshly. It was along the lines of 'cut them into pieces' and 'feast upon them to show them a lesson'. Thank goodness Markisah and her bird friends weren't too gullible and land. If not, they must await for Suria's retaliation afterward. No more getting friendly.
"Ahahaha.. They are a little too high strung. They just migrated here. So, feeling somewhat energetic." Hana laughed drily while giving lame excuses.
"Ask your friends to place the seeds nicely over here, alright? I want to see myself first." Hana placed a piece of Kuro's black skin-like material on the forest floor and patted it, indicating that the birds should place them one by one on top of the material. They were still high up on the vertical hill where the real entrance of the cave-dwelling was located while the Elemental Fiends were crowding on the open space below. Hence, the birds weren't so afraid to come over to drop off their haul.
Many colorful birds placed different seeds on the black 'cloth'. Some were black, white, brown, green, blue, pink, dual tones of yellow-orange, pink-blue, pale yellow-white, and even rainbow-colored! Hana had never seen so many different kinds of peculiar seeds in her life! After a while, the seeds pile up into a small mound of grain. Hana sieved through the seeds in search of the ones that she might be familiar with. She had been using a lot of whole herbs all the time when she was cooking at home, and did spend some time planting random small herb trees, courtesy of Ma'am Shaza's insistence. So, at least she had a somewhat shallow knowledge on seeds.
"Ah. This looks like an okra seed." The shape was the same but these little ones were black instead of greenish-gray.
"This one! It really looks like water-spinach seed." Hana found a couple of dark brownish slightly squarish seeds. She had attempted sowing water spinach before after she got the seeds from Ma'am Shaza.
"A star-anise!" Hana sniffed the herb and closed her eyes. However, the color was somewhat wrong. This was deep red, though it was the same in shape and carried the same smell.
"These looks like mustard seeds." Hana observed the specks of black dots, but wasn't too sure.
"Ohhh.. isn't this a nutmeg?! Lovely!" She inhaled deeply with the unmistakable scent.
"Coriander seeds! I love these!"
"Is this soy beans?! How can there be soybeans here?" (2)
The aunty was so delighted, she succumbed into her own little world, observing and counting seeds that she thought she knew. The birds were speechless seeing how happy the aunty was and waited patiently by the side.
Ten minutes was gone...
30 minutes was gone, and the aunty was still playing with all the seeds.
After one hour, Markisah couldn't stand waiting any longer.
"Hana, everyone is waiting."
The aunty looked up innocently, and say, "So?"
Markisah rolled her eyes. "Please reward them a bit? Pity them."
"Ohhhhh.." Hana slapped her head. "Hahaha, sorry, sorry." She thought it was free. But, a return gift was common courtesy. After all, she didn't know how far and wide they had traveled to choose seeds for her. It could be a few meters, or it could be tens of kilometers!
Hana rubbed her chin in contemplation. How should she show her gratitude? She suddenly stood up, startling the birds into flying a few feet away.
Hana entered her now posh-like sojourn, adorned with beautiful greenish glow from the studded spirit pearls on the wall and floor. F1 was just sitting stoically in the middle of the cave while emitting its natural 'light'. She walked to her bamboo shelf and rummaged through one of the shopping bags. Really, with the outlook of the walls and resin-like finishing on the floorings, her once upon a time cave-dwelling looked like a modern high-end hall. It only lacked either a disco ball or a grand chandelier. Suddenly, the bamboo cupboard with the redundant filter really looked out of place. Only the hovering water bubble as tall as she was, was a match with the surroundings. She needed to discuss with Q-chan for some furniture upgrades soon.
Hana took out a yellow aluminium-plastic pack from inside. The front was decorated with a dark brown design. She nodded approvingly. "The birds will surely love this!"
She popped the bag and the aroma of curry floated around. Unintentionally, saliva leaked at the corner of the aunty's mouth.
Hana can't help herself from taking a few pieces and popped them into her mouth.
"Mmmm... This is sooooooo goodddd..." Hana looked at the packaging longingly. When will be the next time she'll be able to eat this junkfood?
Feeling deeply conflicted, she hugged the already opened BBQ curry-flavor snack (3) in sorrow for a full five-minutes, not realizing that all the birds were crowding at the cave entrance, witnessing her antics...
The little birds were looking at each other in wonder. What was wrong with the Lord of this place? Why was she weeping over a yellowish-brown thing in her wings that lacked feathers? The most important thing was, how can this Lord be a 'she'? She didn't even have any luxuriant feathers or fur to accentuate her beauty. She was very... bare.
Was the thing she kept on holding close a very precious thing? So precious that she couldn't part with it?
Was it a treasure?!
To their astonishment, the Lord walked out of the strange greenish-white cave towards them.
"The ones who give me these, line up." Hana gestured to a smaller mound of seeds she separated from the large mound.
The birds who strike it gold were in elation! High pitch of loud chirps from hundreds of birds resounded!
The atmosphere was so noisy at the moment! "Me! Me! Me!", sounded non-stop, thought the Lord wasn't even looking. It looked like the Lord wasn't fluent in Avian Language. However, her benevolent smile was unmistakable; the Lord of the land was going to share her treasure with them!
The birds obediently lined up in front of Hana. When there was no more space, they kept on lining up by hovering in a straight line.
"Show me which seed did you fetch for me, little one." The aloof white fox with branches over its head translated after the Lord made strange soft noises they never heard before; most likely a higher being's language.
The first bird, a tiny greenish-blue hummingbird as big as a quartered RM1 apple dug through the pile of seeds to pass three tiny black seeds on the Lord's palm.
"Ah, you're the one who got these seeds that looks like mustard seeds. Thank you, little one." The Lord used a single bony 'wing-tip' to pat the tiny hummingbird's head gently.
Not knowing what it meant, the hummingbird bravely accepted the Lord's pat while feeling good about itself.
Other birds who were looking gazed at the Lord with a favorable impression. Such a gentle Lord. She even lowered herself by touching the body of a nobody like the little bird. Although they weren't too bright, everyone knew their own Lord never even appear in front of them, lest willingly touching their lowly body.
"This is for you." A bright orange-yellow colored irregular stick-like thing was given by the Lord to the little bird. The 'stick' was at least half the size of the bird. The bird was looking with confusion, what should she do with it?
"You eat it, little one." The Lord chuckled mirthfully, as she took another tiny orang-yellow 'stick' from within the same pouch and placed it inside her mouth. She started chewing animatedly while closing her eyes in contentment, with a slight attachment towards the strange-looking stick. The Lord fed another stick to the white fox at her side after that. The fox chewed obediently and showed a couple of different expressions undeciphered by the birds. But ultimately, the fox looked like it enjoyed itself very much.
Another bird hopped enthusiastically after the little hummingbird took its leave in happiness after a couple of sneezes. It hopped to the nearest branches and waited there. It was a chestnut-colored sparrow, with a fluffed up white chest; extremely adorable. The Lord tickled its chest slightly with fondness after giving another strange 'stick'.
Strangely, this bird also sneezed cutely a couple of time before flying away.
Another bird came...
After about eighty plus birds, the Lord was still enjoying herself by playing with the exotic birds one after another! The sun was already tilting towards the horizon.
The line was still there, as the birds looked at the ones who were eagerly pecking on the strange yellowish stick. They looked like they were in a daze while sneezing a few times in a row. However, they still enjoyed themselves immensely!
Some who didn't get a portion of the treasure bestowed by the Lord eyed the ones who got one with sadness and envy. They too worked hard but weren't rewarded.
Until the little hummingbird who got the first treasure invited another bird to enjoy the treasure together with it since the stick was so big.
It started a chain reaction where everyone started sharing!
The air space in front of Hana's sojourn was filled with happy chirps, energetic cawing, and random sneezes.
Everyone loved the intense curry flavor! It was wild and tasty at the same time; totally different from what they used to eat daily!
Hana nodded with appreciation at the birds' behavior.
It seemed that the birds around here were quite intelligent and generous at the same time; just like her friend, Markisah.
However, the aunty was feeding wild birds with junk food! If it was done anywhere in a touristic spot with an abundance of wildlife, she would've been fined heavily!
1) She too, loved insects; but only the ones that she could eat = Markisah is not a vegan, she's a passerine bird (scarlet minivet), meaning she ate fruits, grains & insects.
2) How can there be soybeans here? = Mrs Mooncat never heard soybeans being locally grown here. All soybeans are imported from outside. Its like wheat, soybeans are more suitable for temperate climate. However, Mrs Mooncat did saw some local blogs planting soybeans for edamame.
3) BBQ curry-flavor snack = Twisties was the name, an Aussie's product, but it seemed like it is manufactured here in Malaysia. It's a corn-based irregular elongated shaped snack with many flavors. The one with the BBQ curry flavor is yellow-brown in color. Super delicious, and quite potent curry, I might say; really to the liking of Malaysians. Have been eating since Mrs Mooncat was a kiddo (more than 20 years ago), and we still ate some during anime/movie nights when the kids were already asleep (its not good to give kids junkfood.. don't let them eat!) XD
Twisties looks like this! https://shopee.com.my/Snack-Twisties-Bbq-Curry-65g-i.28796415.7529898705
Mrs Mooncat didn't sell this, just a random advert from Shopee. Oh ya, Shopee is one of the most prominent online shopping platform we frequented in Malaysia apart from Lazada & Lelong.my. We can get almost anything. Even wet market stuff. But now, we got direct number of trucks traveling around selling produce directly from the nearest farms, courtesy of MCO (movement control order; a term used in M'sia for partial lockdown). So, more fresh produce delivered to our doorstep!
Yes! I love spicy stuff! Votes: 1 50.0%
No, it sounded spicy. I can't take too much spice Votes: 1 50.0%